Our GMI in Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA, Jiu-Jitsu teacher Cristyan Martins gave the initial “oss” on a special project: teaching the gentle art free of charge to young people and children in the village of Hyannis. In that environment, Cristyan and other Brazilian teachers will also teach adults, and the main focus is to demonstrate how martial arts, notably Jiu-Jitsu, can be one of the most fun and healthy lifebuoys for ailments such as alcoholism and other addictions.
Cristyan, who is from Maringá and continues to compete and win several IBJJF tournaments, chatted with the GRACIEMAG team about the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu against so many problems, from bullying to the most varied disorders.
GRACIEMAG: How can Jiu-Jitsu be the best friend of anyone who struggles with alcoholism, smoking and so many other maladies that afflict people in all countries today?
CRISTYAN MARTINS: Jiu-Jitsu is today the best pedagogical tool that exists, in my opinion. That’s because art, at that time of training, forces us to use all the person’s synesthetic channels. That is, Jiu-Jitsu encompasses our entire body and organism and turns out to be a learning tool that trains our physical, mental, and also spiritual parts. With a great differential from all other therapies: the practitioner always wants to return the next day, as it is a pleasure to learn and release that endorphin, even more with a refreshing fruit juice afterward. There is no better and more natural remedy than feeling good.
And what would be the difference between Jiu-Jitsu and other physical exercises?
Drug abuse is nothing more than the pursuit of momentary pleasure, but one that has long-lasting and dangerous consequences. Addiction causes the body to ask for higher and higher doses, and the individual leaves not only his health but his identity behind. Addiction at that time takes over your desires and decisions. Any physical exercise causes physiological, biochemical, and psychological changes, that is, it becomes a non-medication intervention for the treatment of these disorders. Jiu-Jitsu, therefore, becomes a perfect tool because it gives you self-confidence and new security that maybe not even four, five months of weight training will bring. From then on, when the young person or adult feels that sport is the best way, he substitutes the harmful substance for the practice time. And exchange drugs for the pleasure of training and even competing, as we have seen with so many young Brazilians. Another benefit of the gentle art is the whole philosophy of life that is rooted in the discipline, as well as a professional path as an instructor or professional fighter in the future.
Professor Helio Gracie said that every addiction, even a daily coffee on the corner, was a callus on people’s personalities. Is training the best way to balance, to tame any “callus” in our personal life?
I see it like that, perfect. With Jiu-Jitsu, one develops balance and respect for each goal that he has, whatever it is. It can be studying to be a judge, working hard to be a doctor, being a black belt, or an MMA champion. And this is also true for more domestic goals, so to speak: lose weight, quit alcohol, minimize depression, socialize and make friends. This is the great power of Jiu-Jitsu, to bring you closer to your innumerable life goals. Because in the dojo you learn to overcome obstacles and opponents of all sizes daily. (Continues)
What is the importance of these free classes for kids?
With young people and children, Jiu-Jitsu quickly fosters social values that we see so lacking among adults. Mutual respect, discipline for personal growth, knowing how to accept a no, the strength of character, and direction. Thanks to the Jiu-Jitsu philosophy of life, we learn to take care of our food, sleep, and the body in general, avoiding malicious addictions that hinder all of our development – and then drugs and alcohol are quickly seen as life delays.
And the case of bullying, so sadly in vogue today?
Child training is also the best antidote for schools and societies to combat bullying. After all, we always work with respect as the basis of everything. And, if the cowards don’t understand, the young practitioner will know how to use self-defense to make the aggressors go looking for another one to upset. Whether young or adult, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners rarely suffer from stress or serious concerns, as it leaves all that bad energy and annoyance on the mats. And he still finds in the class a good outlet to talk about his problems and review, returning home always lighter than he arrived.